Trusting Your Struggle

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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In 2016, Ted happened to me.

Prior to then, I had heard about “Ted” in passing, and stumbled upon one video or the other. But I never gave any particular attention to Ted, or Ted videos.

Not until I was invited to speak at a Ted event.

The phenomenon of Ted was not necessarily about my talk, or that particular event; Ted happened to me in the days leading to my talk.


In preparing for TedX Port-Harcourt, I had to watch prior other (various) Ted videos, given by people from all over the world. I wanted to gain general insight into the format of Ted talks, and learn a thing or two about delivery of speeches, from other “Tedders”.

But I was like Alice, dropped smack in the middle of Wonderland market-square.

It was overwhelming and at once all at once, watching and hearing various stories experiences, and the different ways people drew strength. I found myself staying up later than I should, glued to my phone or tablet, watching Ted video after video, even the ones I had probably watched a million times.

I laughed at some of the talks, and cried at some. 

Monica Lewinsky made me cry with her talk on cyber-bullying, and I learnt that the person who is deemed a general laughing-stock is also a real being, with their own side of the ‘funny’ story.

Chimamanda’s "the Danger of a single narrative" was my virtual coach on delivery. I can almost re-narrate that speech, of the top of my head.

But the Ted talk which has resonated with me the most - and to which I will probably always be stuck on - remains Zain Asher’s delivery of “Trust your Struggle”.

Zain never really defines the concept of trusting your struggle (per se) in her talk, but from her personal story shared, she made me realise that I was not alone (or crazy) in finding myself smack in the middle of a confusing crisis, yet not letting my spirit be broken by my instant reality, and holdig on to blind faith of a future I had little basis to hope for.

In my own case, at the time, I was not even sure what represented my struggle: there were too many demons fighting for attention at the same time. I kept coming right back to Zain’s video, until I could pin-point deciding which trouble was worth the trouble.

Since then, I have come to learn, that trusting your struggle means having faith that whatever disturbing situation is going on with you at the moment will end in good, and persevering through the present storm, while working towards your desired future. Your faith in mind, your hard-work in hand.

Broken down in Nigerian English, trusting your struggle = know sey e go better last last; no slack.

Trusting your struggle recognizes that the vicissitudes of life may batter you from left to right, like a ping-pong ball. The struggle may entail disappointments and unexpected shocks, capable of making you question your theory of who you are, and in extreme instances, your very existence on earth.

But trusting your struggle also means you understand that there is a wider picture, and refuse to be boxed or drowned by the present waves. This therefore entails that you reach in within, right in the middle of the storm, discover what future it is you believe in for yourself, and continue to press on, with the picture of that future placed in front of you. Way ahead of the present confusion.

Sheer grit. Determination. Looking beyond the present. A positive belief of the possibilities the future holds.

Those are components required to trust your struggle.

Know that if the present does not fit into your vision of the future, trusting means you will not waver on your gaze into the future that your faith has shown you. If the present is less than what your struggle is about, the present is not good enough to settle in/for.  

Sometimes, everything going on around may be too loud, for crystal clarity on progress. It may seem like the present has fixed immovable microphones in the ears of your mind, and like a broken record, keeps reminding you of the insurmountable hurdles all around.

(As if your village witches have made your head their palm-wine joint)

Trust the still voice inside telling you that are more, and can be more. 

Do not relent. 

Be resilient. Build a support structure if you need to. Go the extra mile, if you have to. Whatever it is, keep going, until you achieve what your struggle represents.

Everything else may lie. But your struggle will not. Trust it; your struggle.

And if you forget anything else, remember that in the end, it will be ok.

If it is not ok… it is not The End.



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